Sadie Hell Sadie Hell

It seems wide of the mark to fault those who approach their craft in an overly ambitious manner, as there is quite a fine line between the passionate and the zealous. Ottawa's Ben Welland, who records with a revolving cast of musicians under the name Sadie Hell, has promptly cast a stake between those who describe his music as "lush baroque" and those who call it "masquerading emo." That said, at its best, Sadie Hell's self-titled debut LP is a remarkable display of anguished/angelic howls and grandiose guitar work decorated with a multitude of strings, brass, polyrhythms and allusions that often journey into the seven-minute mark. Unfortunately, too much of the album lacks the ability to inject the refinement and subtlety that help make dramatists like Antony Hegarty or (early) Conor Oberst sound so organic and expressive. Sadie Hell is such an immense mix of push-pull that it mostly forgets to exhale. (Independent)